Robopocalyptic co-op shooter Generation Zero – latest from Just Cause studio Avalanche – arrives on March 26th. The open world shooter may have previously drawn comparisons to Left 4 Dead, but after playing around with a beta version last year, I think this one stands out from the crowd by being a far more open, quieter and more tactical shooter. Chunky industrial-looking robots have taken over a Swedish island, and only a band of four very 80s youths can scavenge up the firepower to clear out the machines, one hot-zone at a time.
The Generation Zero beta felt remarkably lonely, reminding me (pleasantly) of Arma 3 and STALKER. Even in the small strip of land the beta was restricted to, it’s large enough to get comprehensively lost. Aside from up to three other players, there wasn’t a single human to be found – no quest-givers, no cutscenes, just a map of possible locations to explore. The robots themselves felt interesting to fight as well, only going down after being shot in key components. You could pour a thousand bullets into a non-essential part of a machine and achieve nothing, and headshots aren’t always the way to go. They actually feel like machines, no matter how animalistic some behave.
The beta had some issues too, of course. Its bugs ranged from deeply annoying (my character forgetting how to heal themselves) to hilarious (a floating patch of grass launching me a hundred feet into the sky), and I’ve got my fingers crossed that they’ve hammered out the worst of the dents by launch. I also feel it’s an interesting change of pace for Avalanche – it’s an oddly quiet and restrained game, especially considering that you’re meant to be fighting a war against an army of killbots. Hard to believe it’s from the same studio as Just Cause and the upcoming Rage 2 – I’m hoping it finds its niche when it launches later this spring.
Generation Zero launches on March 26th for £30/$35/$35, and you can find it here on Steam. You can find a bit more (including peeks at quasi-humanoid and massive quadruped bots that weren’t in the beta) on its official page here.